I'm alternately excited and terrified and so far out of my comfort zone that it isn't funny. Yesterday was my first day of tri training and holy schmoly, why in the world did I ever agree to do this?? I have GOT to stop drinking with Claudia and agreeing to her ridiculous suggestions.
The team met in the morning at Campolind0 High in Moraga. After a talk and then an explanation and demonstration of swim techniques and drills it was into the pool. I decided to go in with the intermediate people since I'm slow. Although I can easily do the distance I don't need to get run over in the lane. It worked out pretty well except my brain just will not remember the laps I've completed and I feel like a dolt trying to figure out how far I've gone. The swim coach told me to time one lap, then swim by time. Hmm, I can probably do that!
It was lovely getting in a warm, clean pool after all our swims in nasty Shadow Cliffs, but turning around every 25 yards is a drag. I just don't feel I'm getting any rhythm when I do that. I can work on my form, which is important, but I know that once I get in the open water everything changes. Hopefully all the drilling will help with, I dunno, muscle memory? I think that's the theory, that even when your brain forgets what it's supposed to do, you can keep going without thinking. Good, because I've proven over and over that my brain is not reliable during sports.
Once the swim was over we quickly changed into cycling gear and then sat and had a short clinic on fluids and nutrition. Seriously, for a while there I thought I was at an introductory Weight Watchers meeting. Maybe it's just because I've been eating like that for years and years and years, but I felt Coach Paul was very clear and concise in his information. Small meals and snacks, carbs over protein, low healthy fats, drink enough but not too much, blah blah blah. Don't worry if you're not losing weight, don't weigh yourself every day, experiment with gels and drinks and so forth. I listened but didn't really hear anything new for me.
After a short instruction of bike etiquette and rules of the road, it was on the bikes. I was sticking with the shorter training group yesterday but I think I'm going to train with the Half IM group, just to get in extra miles. We were supposed to ride 40 minutes; head toward Canyon and turn around after 20 minutes. Okey dokey. I was in the last group to set off which included a few people who were actually slower than me. The route passed through Orinda and up a hill. Coach Paul caught up with me at one point and we had a nice conversation.
He told me he wanted to see me spinning at higher revs. I told him that I had a bit of exercise induced asthma and that spinning higher would make me gasp. I told him the short version of my athletic history (joined TnT in 2001 and ran 30 marathons since then and nobody else on the team really has to know that about me). I told him I was probably going to be one of his slowest participants but I could outlast almost anyone else there. He gave me the party line that speed doesn't matter (uh huh, and you're wearing Ironman gear instead of TnT gear why?) and I said that as long as I finished before a time cut-off I didn't really care. I'm hoping I got across that I wasn't saying I don't try to go faster; I'm trying my hardest and not slacking but I realize that speed isn't one of my talents. And yes I do find it frustrating to look like a slow, fat, middle-aged asthmatic woman. And be a slow, fat, middle-aged asthmatic woman. My heart thinks I'm a gazelle but my brain knows I'm more like a rhino.
Anyway, I asked him what he thought of my being able to train for a fall marathon and bottom line, he thinks it should be possible. He told me to run the Half IM group's mileage and that would put me at 13 miles, 4 weeks before my tri. I could then jump up my miles right after my tri and in theory be ready for a November marathon. He thinks that if I'm in tri shape I shouldn't have to do more than an 18-20 miler for my longest run and I didn't tell him that it's a mental thing for me to have to go longer. But that's what I'll shoot for then. I'll be studying races later this week to see what I can do.
The coach also gave me instructions on how to pedal more efficiently up the hill and it helped on the big 'un. I was down to my last granny gear but I made it to the top without stopping (and unfortunately several of the other people in the group did not) and was going a turtle's pace of 5 mph. I was really happy at the top that it was exactly 20 minutes; I wouldn't have to ride down the back side of the hill and back up again!. I told the people behind me we could turn around and I think everyone else was as happy as I was. The return was mostly downhill but I was fatigued by then and I think even the easiest ride would have hurt.
Once people returned we had a tire changing clinic. Could have used it 2 weeks ago! I was interested to see that he didn't take the tire off completely. Mostly what he showed was exactly what we did, only considerably faster. Hey, I've already said I was slow!
So what are my initial impressions of my new team? My goal, other than completing my first tri in good form and time, was to not be the oldest, fattest, slowest or poorest runner/swimmer/cyclist on the team. Yeah, I set high goals, don't I? I'm pretty sure I have that taken care of. I just have to make sure that all the other newbies on the team don't progress faster than I do, or I'll fall to the very bottom of the heap. There are lots of coaches on the team (head coach, swim coach, run coach, bike coach, all those other coaches) and lots of captains and mentors. I didn't get to find out who they all were since I wasn't at kick-off. I didn't find out who our honorees were. There isn't the team spirit I'm used to with Coach Al's team but I'm starting to understand just what a unique gem Coach Al is. I may have been in the locker room or something but I didn't hear anything about the cause. No "go team" and really, no team bonding stuff at all. That may be the nature of the sport; you can't swim or cycle with someone else during the race. Or it could be that it'll come later.
Oh. And I'm NOT HAPPY that the pictures on the team website include one of my fat ass in a bathing suit! Now that was something I could have gone forever without having to see!